Graduate schools of famous universities in Beijing still enjoy huge popularity among applicants in spite of the dropping number of postgraduate applications this year.
Some 214,450 students have registered to take the postgraduate entrance exams for universities and research institutes in Beijing in 2008, 3.2 percent down from last year, the Beijing Authority of Education and Examinations said.
Analysts say that the decline has been a result of fiercely competitive job market in which master-degree holders are no longer attractive to employers. But, first-tier institutions of higher learning in Beijing do not seem to be affected, according to a survey by the China Youth Daily published on Wednesday.
Four universities including Peking University, Renmin University of China, Beijing Normal University and Tsinghua University have each received more than 10,000 postgraduate applications this year, it said.
Peking University plans to admit 4300 students for 2008 postgraduate programs, but a total number of 20,756 applied, said Sheng Yuhai, Vice President of the university's Graduate School.
"I really wish to change my life by entering famous university. There are too many post-graduate students and those from less famous ones are regarded as less competitive." Zhou Wen said.
Zhou is from a less famous university in Tianjin. He had been applying for the graduate school of a famous university in Beijing for three years in a row and finally succeeded.
For many others, entering a famous university is a long-cherished dream. Li Wen, a senior student of an ordinary university in Tianjin, said, "My father urged me not to bury my dream there on my first day of college. He said that my dream is not over yet, I can still have it."
"Apply for the best, and Peking University is yours," her father has said, talking about a postgraduate study to her on the phone.
Degrees from famous universities are regarded as good social capital. According to the result of an online questionaire about "do you have famous university complex?", 55% of the 3,871 people surveyed said yes, acknowledging they still long for a dream to go to a prestigious school.
"Actually, in China, landing a degree from famous university means that you have got some great social capital when you enter the society." said Lin Li, a Renmin University graduate and Peking University post-graduate who is now working for a provincial government.
(Xinhua News Agency January 3, 2008)